ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s basketball team returned home to Alumni Gym for its first home game of 2014 in impressive fashion, defeating Appalachian State, 66-54, tonight, Jan. 17. The Phoenix improves to 7-10 on the season and 3-3 in Southern Conference play, while the Mountaineers are now 5-11 (2-4 SoCon).
“I felt like we did an outstanding job defensively in the first half in terms of our assignments and being alert and active,” said Elon head coach Charlotte Smith. “We need to find a way to put together two outstanding halves. But I’m really impressed with the way we played the first half and hopefully we can find a way to duplicate that and play that way for 40 minutes.”
Jessica Farmer had the best game of her career, going a career-high 7-of-9 from the field to score another career-high 19 points, including 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. The sophomore also finished with three assists, three blocks and three steals.
Sam Coffer dished out a career-high seven assists and fell just short of a double-double with nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Kelsey Harris posted 10 points and also hauled down eight rebounds.
The Phoenix, who never trailed in the game, went 23-of-49 from the field to shoot 47 percent, including 44 percent from beyond the arc. Elon also hit 16-of-25 chances at the charity stripe for a 64 percent mark.
The Mountaineers were held to 34 percent shooting after going 24-of-71 from the field and only hit one three in the game. At the line, ASU had five makes in its 14 attempts (36 percent), but did grab the advantage on the boards, 46-36, and claimed 20 second-chance points.
Elon shot 54 percent in the first frame, hitting 14-of-26 from the field, while ASU was held to a 22 percent clip. With just over nine minutes on the clock, Coffer was fouled after she stole the ball and turned it into a fast-break layup. Coffer finished off the old-fashioned three point play to give the Phoenix a 12-point lead, 24-12. Another fast-break layup, this time by Lauren Brown, with 42 ticks left in the half put the maroon and gold up by 20, 37-17, at the break.
In the second half, a layup by Harris gave Elon its biggest lead of the game of 22 points, 41-19, with 17:26 on the clock. The Mountaineers then managed a 13-2 run that spanned over eight minutes to close the gap to 11, 45-34, before Coffer hit a three to put the Phoenix back up by 14.
ASU’s Maryah Sydnor made a jumper with just over five minutes to play to make it a nine-point game, 53-44. As the shot clock expired, Lenaira Ruffin sank a three from the wing to return the maroon and gold to a double-digit lead, 56-44. The Mountaineers immediately answered with a three of their own before Ruffin sank another three from the same spot to keep Elon up by 12, 59-47, with 3:23 left in the game. The closest ASU would get was a 10-point deficit with under a minute to play but the Phoenix was able to hit free throws down the stretch and close out the 12-point victory.
Elon will remain home for its next game on Sunday, Jan. 19, when it hosts Western Carolina. Tip is set for 2 p.m. in Alumni Gym.